Ideas for EdTech products came to life this month at StartUp Weekend EDU San Diego. StartUp Weekends take place all over the world and give entrepreneurs a space to put their ideas in front of an audience. The events often feature themes, and this month the theme in San Diego was Education.
StartUp Weekend EDU San Diego kicked off at High Tech Middle School with an opportunity to network, eat pizza and listen to educators share stories. The basic premise of a StartUp Weekend is that individuals with a variety of skills and experiences come together with the mission of creating a product that provides a solution to a problem. Teams think through their business plan over the course of a weekend, make sure the problem they want to solve actually exists and form a plan.
On the first night in San Diego, the people gathered were passionate about creating change and buzzing with ideas. The first night includes one minute pitches for problems and solutions, and then attendees vote for their favorite ideas and form teams. Teams spend the rest of the weekend putting together their plan and presentation for Sunday night. On the last day of the event a panel of industry leaders came together to judge five-minute pitches. The presentation is followed with five minutes of questions and answers so judges can get a full picture of the product and plan.
In San Diego, teams identified problems like finding quality lesson plans, overcoming language barriers with English Language Learners, providing job training and preparation, gamifying learning objectives and teaching kids about healthy foods. All of the presentations were well thought out and well received — a real testament to the dedication and work ethic of the team members.
These types of events are a great model for problem-based learning. Participants had a clear goal, resources to help them work through the process and opportunities for collaboration. If you’re interested in learning more about StartUp Weekend or the model for this type of event, check out their website.
Monica Burns is an EdTech & Curriculum Consultant, Author and Apple Distinguished Educator. Visit her site ClassTechTips.com for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.
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